Mumps strikes teenagers and young adults after fall in baby jabs

Teenagers and young adults are being struck down by mumps as last year’s outbreak of the highly infectious disease continues in 2020.

There were 193 cases of mumps reported in the first two weeks of the year and third-level students are among the worst affected.

The HSE has again urged people who have potential symptoms – such as swollen cheeks or jaw – to stay at home and not go to school or work.

The best protection against mumps is to be vaccinated with two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) jab.

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A surge in cases is linked to a fall in uptake two decades ago.

The current generation of students was born at the height of a mass health scare triggered in 1998 by disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield, who wrongly made a link between the vaccine and autism.

Other symptoms of mumps can include fever, headache, tiredness and swollen, tender salivary glands – usually the parotid gland just below the front of the ear.

Between January to the end of November last year there were 2,370 cases compared to a total of 573 for 2018.

Most were in the 15-24 year age group. Among those in the 15-24 age group, school, university or college or social settings were reported as the most likely places where infections happened.

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